Conservation of the Cedrus libani populations in Lebanon: history, current status and experimental application of somatic embryogenesis
- Cite this article as:
- Khuri, S., Shmoury, M., Baalbaki, R. et al. Biodiversity and Conservation (2000) 9: 1261. doi:10.1023/A:1008936104581
Cedrus libani, the cedar of Lebanon, is a threatened conifer native to the Levant. Over 4000 years of exploitation have resulted in the fragmentation and degradation of the Lebanese cedar populations. Continued urban and agricultural development in Lebanon adds to the difficulty of effective conservation. Two protected areas have recently been established which contain two of the more important forests: a cedar dominated forest in the Shouf region and a mixed forest at Ehden. A number of other populations are protected by ministerial decrees, and there is a need for rigorous management of all the remaining populations. The application of in vitro techniques such as somatic embryogenesis may assist in the conservation of this species. We have produced somatic pro-embryos using immature zygotic tissue as explants cultured on half-strength MS medium containing an auxin and a cytokinin (10 μM 2,4-D and 5 μM BAP). The application of somatic embryogenesis to the Lebanese cedar would be in the propagation and preservation of selected genotypes, either those from old growth provenance for use in restoration, or those with desirable commercial or horticultural characteristics.